BALTIMORE, 05-17-08 – December Hill Farm’s Pays to Dream exploded out of the pack, took over the lead at the top of the lane and drew off to win the $250,000 Dixie Stakes (G II) for 3-year-olds and up Saturday. Sent off at 18-1 under jockey Javier Castellano, who was winning his second race of the afternoon, Pays To Dream romped home a 7½- length winner in the time of 1:54.74 for 1-1/8 miles over the good turf. Stay Close edged long shot frontrunner Ra Der Dean for second.
Pays to Dream paid $40.40. The 5-6 exacta returned $286.40 and the 5-6-7 triple paid $5770.
The New York-bred son of High Yield had won four races on the turf before this start including the Glow Stakes at Saratoga last year. David Donk trains Pays To Dream.
Trainer and Jockey Quotes
David Donk (trainer, Pays to Dream, winner) – “It was a soft course. I wasn’t sure if he’d handle it or not. Horses with that style usually don’t do that well when the turf is soft, but I was impressed. That was wonderful.”
Javier Castellano (jockey, Pays to Dream, winner) – “I had a beautiful trip today, a dream trip. I took my time. The track is a little soft today. I had to follow the best horse in the race. I thought that was Shakis and Ramon Dominguez. I saved ground all the way around. Turning for home, I followed Ramon, but then I saw the hole and I went through because I had so much horse. He passed the others and went by them so easy. He really exploded. I liked the way he opened up on the field.”
Michael Zwiesler (trainer, Stay Close, 2nd) – “I’m very pleased with his second race off a layoff. He ran great, he was up close. He just got outrun down the stretch. I’m going to give the horse some time off and explore options with Mr. (Will) Farish.”
Rosie Napravnik (jockey, Stay Close, 2nd) – “This is such a nice horse. He’s nice to ride as well. We got up close, settled nicely and he was very relaxed. He began to move up on his own and tried real hard, but the winner was much the best.”
Edward Maher (trainer, Ra Der Dream, 3rd) – “He really didn’t lose his action and seemed to be traveling OK at the end. A couple of other horses just ran better. You can’t be too disappointed by an effort like that.”